CBI: Parental part-time work rights are impractical and damaging

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CBI chief Digby Jones today (Tuesday) intends step up pressure on the government over plans to give new parents a right to work part-time and to impose extra local business rates.

Speaking at the British Chambers of Commerce Annual Conference in London, he will describe the right to return to work part-time as "impractical and damaging". He will add that extra business rates could increase company costs by as much as £750 million pounds.

"Business is an enthusiastic champion of flexible working practices," he says. "The UK has the second highest number of part-time workers in Europe and 70 per cent of women who worked full-time before taking maternity leave return on a part-time basis.

"But with the best will in the world, firms cannot guarantee reduced hours and change whole systems at short notice. Giving employees a right would lead to more employment tribunals - more punts for cash and again businesses would be forced to take their eye off the ball of global competitiveness."

On business rates, he says: "We have been pointing out for months that supplementary business rates are the wrong way to go. Companies see them as nothing more than extra taxes that will damage competitiveness and deter much-needed investment.

"Like the government, we want local authorities and business working more closely but supplementary rates would be counterproductive. UK property taxes are already higher in the UK than in competitor countries, including Germany, France, Spain and Italy."

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